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Published: 4/20/2012 - Updated: 1 year ago

Family of Maumee woman killed in I-475 crash files suit

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The daughter of a 40-year-old Maumee woman who was killed last year in a chain-reaction crash on I-475 that left two other people dead and another person injured, filed a lawsuit Friday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court against two drivers and the truck company that employed one of those drivers.

Killed in the Aug. 4 crash along with Jodi Lubas were James South, 68, of Monclova Township and Dale Barnhiser, 52, of Grand Rapids, Ohio. Diana Dixon, 48, of Coraopolis, Pa., was injured.

Mrs. Lubas' daughter, Alexis Lubas, and her parents, George Lubas and Sharon Hyde, are asking for compensatory damages in excess of $25,000, in addition to punitive damages, costs, and other relief.

They have sued truck driver John N. Tucker, 65, of Flint, Mich., Estes Express Lines of Columbus, and the estate of Mr. South.

Mr. Tucker pleaded not guilty last month to misdemeanor charges in Maumee Municipal Court. Judge Gary Byers allowed him to remain free on a recognizance bond and scheduled a pretrial hearing in the case for May 23. He is charged with three counts each of vehicular homicide and vehicular manslaughter. He also is charged with three traffic counts of fatality through the negligent operation of a commercial motor vehicle. The charges were filed about a month after a Lucas County grand jury declined to indict Mr. Tucker on felony charges related to the crash.

Authorities said Mr. South's pickup became disabled in the right lane of northbound I-475 after a collision with a tractor-trailer driven by Michael Borowy, 55, of Warren, Mich. Both Ms. Lubas and Ms. Dixon had stopped and gotten out of their vehicles to offer assistance when Mr. Tucker's semi-trailer slammed into Mr. South's pickup, killing Mr. South and Ms. Lubas.

Ms. Dixon survived because she jumped from the freeway viaduct and fell to the Ohio Turnpike's median. Mr. Barnhiser was involved in the crash and was killed when he was thrown from his motorcycle and landed in a field.



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